The science and history behind Aranmula metal mirror

Read about the science and history behind Aranmula metal mirror. The famous Aranmula Kannadi (Malayalam word for mirror), is a special mirror made of metal alloys. When ordinary glass mirrors, which reflect from the mercury, polished on the back surface, this particular mirror is made of bell metal and reflects from its polished front surface.


Aranmula is a village situated on the banks of river pampa, which is also the venue of snake boat race. It includes in Pathanamthitta district, 128 kilometers from capital city Trivandrum.

Aranmula Kannadi

Decades back, some artisans came to Pandalam to participate in the building of Aranamula Parthasaradhi temple. Other than the building works, they had to make several other metallic items like vessels, ornaments and bells for the temple using copper based alloys. While at work, they accidentally noticed the reflecting property of certain alloy. This peculiar characteristic of that alloy is used in making Aranmula Kannadi. The combination is still a secret and is known to some of the family members only.

A story behind Aranmula Kannadi

Some centuries back the cracked crown of the deity in Parthasaradhi temple had to be replaced. The bronze smith was summoned and ordered to make a new one. The bronze smith was worried as he neither had sufficient time to make a new crown nor the required metal for it. The poor man and his wife had no other go other than praying to Devi. That night, while they were sleeping the Goddess appeared in dream and disclosed the proportions of a brass alloy which shine like a mirror.
Later the crown made of the above combination was silver in color and shining like mirror. That crown was preserved in Aranmula temple till 1946. Artisans then used this combination to make mirrors, thus Aranmula Kannadi came to existence.
With the introduction of Aranmula Kannadi, as one of the eight auspicious objects used in Ashtamangalyam, the popularity increased. Ashtamangalyam, a combination of eight auspicious objects, is of great importance among hindu families in Kerala. Ashtamangalyam is also used as bride's trousseau in some communities. During vishu (harvest festival), Ashtamangalyam is used to set "Vishukkani".

A faith about Aranmula Kannadi

Keeping Aranmula Kannadi in house will bring prosperity to home as it is believed to be the mirror of Godess Parvathi.

Preservation of the mirror

Protect under room temperature away from direct heat and dust. Polishing material should not come in touch with the mirror surface. Protect from moisture.

Cleaning method

The mirror can be cleaned using velvet clothe with a bit brass cleaner, at least one in two weeks. The handles can be cleaned using brasso, taken in a velvet cloth, and rubbing it.

Present members indulged in creation of metal mirrors

Few artisan members of Thikkinampallil family.

Popularity of Aranmula Kannadi

Aranmula Kannadi become famous throughout the world, with the hands of foreign tourists who visits Kerala.
A 45 cms tall Aranamula kannadi is preserved in British Museum in London.
Honourable Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam was presented with Aranmula Kannadi.
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